Ausra, Queensland Government Plan A$200 Million Solar Thermal Project

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Solar thermal energy company Ausra Inc. and the Queensland state government have applied to the federal government for funding to develop a proposed A$200 million upgrade to a coal-fired power station in Queensland

The project involves using Ausra’s solar thermal technology to preheat the 750-megawatt Kogan Creek power station’s feedwater system, increasing its efficiency and generating over 23 megawatts of extra electricity a year – enough to power about 25,000 homes.

Queensland will provide funding to the project if the federal government gets involved first, a spokesman for the state government said.

“If they put some money in, we’ll put some money in and investment would also be sought from private industry and investors,” the spokesman said.

Ausra was established in Australia but had to move its headquarters to California to attract more funding.

It recently set up new offices in Australia and Macquarie Generation has applied its solar thermal technology at the Liddell coal-fired power station in New South Wales state, but on a smaller, demonstration-level scale.

A funding decision on the proposed Kogan Creek upgrade from the federal government is expected by year end, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said in a statement.

With funding locked in, Ausra Chief Executive Bob Matthews said the project could be developed within a year.

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